The Perils Of Immortality

For centuries the Newport rich have been commissioning portraits of themselves—and sometimes getting a surprise when they see the results


On a clement August evening in 1902, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt III stood on the lawn of her Newport, Rhode Island, estate, receiving two hundred guests and looking, her son later recalled, like a Gainsborough painting in her plumed picture hat, cabochon emeralds, and diamond stomacher.

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